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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Piggott 'confident of recovery'
Lester Piggott
Piggott retired from the saddle in 1994
The 11-time champion jockey Lester Piggott is recovering in intensive care at a Swiss hospital following the recurrence of a heart problem.

Piggott, 71, has been joined by his wife Susan and daughter Maureen Haggas.

Piggott was ill in December and spent time in hospital before returning home to Newmarket to recuperate.

His son-in-law, trainer William Haggas, said: "Maureen's been with him and he seems to be, in the circumstances, pretty good.

"He's still in intensive care, but he knows exactly what is going on and was reading the paper when they got there."

He added: "In her opinion he is going to get better, which is fantastic.

"Everyone knows that if you have been in hospital with a heart condition and you go back in and enter intensive care it is a worry and it is a fear.

"But I am assured by Maureen - and I know from the tone of her voice that there is no worry in it - that he is going to be fine."

Piggott retired in 1994 after 4,493 career wins, including nine Derby victories, his first coming in 1954 on Never Say Die.

He was due to attend a special race day in his honour at Newmarket on Saturday, where he enjoyed some of his greatest triumphs.

It is 50 years since the first of Piggott's seven Guineas winners, after whom the races on 'Lester Piggott Day' were to be named.


Members of his family, including his other daughter Tracey and brother-in-law Robert Armstrong, and friends including Sir Peter O'Sullevan and former jockeys Jimmy Lindley and Bruce Raymond were expected to join him.

But after talks with his family, the racecourse has decided to postpone the tribute until later in the year, although a normal day of racing will take place.

Haggas added: "He and Maureen discussed it and he had every intention of leaving Switzerland on Friday and being at Newmarket races on Saturday.

"Obviously that is not possible, but I took that as a very positive sign because he is certainly not talking like a man who is in trouble."

Alistair Haggis, spokesman for Newmarket racecourses said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Lester and his family. Everyone in racing, especially in Newmarket, hopes he pulls through.

"He's the town's most famous resident. He's a true legend.

"We just hope and pray that Lester is back in Newmarket soon."

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